Blue-Eyed Son

California South Bay punk rocker ditches his band (40 Watt Domain) and gets in touch with his melodic, singer-songwriter side. The preferable results fall on the pop scale somewhere between the Judybats and a more cheerful Elliott Smith.

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The Honorary Title

If the thought of Jeff Buckley fronting The Promise Ring gives you the good kind of goosebumps, then The Honorary Title is worth your download time — even if you’re on dial-up. Jarrod Gorbel has the vocal acuity of the late-great Buckley and a Rufus Wainwright-esque flair for drama that both merges with and hovers above the bounce and retreat of Aaron Kamstra’s lovely arrangements. Go ahead and sing along silently.

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Death Cab for Cutie

Note: Thanks to our MANY astute readers, it came to our attention that these links don’t work from an outside source. You have to cut and paste the links into your browser window. We’re all about hassle-free here at 3hive, so grab these while you can. They’ll be pulled down shortly.

An astute 3hive reader, Si, suggests we don’t overlook the obvious and feature one of the current kings of the indie world. Emo, in the hands of mature, keen songwriters instead of boy bands, whose first concern is their hair-do’s, turns out to be a really, really good thing.

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The Mathletes

Hilarious, cute, and quite often catchy — just what you’d expect from a young bedroom pop maestro with a quivering voice who choses to go by The Mathletes instead of Joe, covers Boards of Canada, and openly admits to stalking Cat Power. (Thanks, Gabba Pod.)

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Olympic Hopefuls

If you’re still searching for a summer single, you won’t do much better than “Holiday,” an emphatic anthem with a pinch of despair that is the perfect male answer to the Go Go’s “Vacation.” There are a couple more pop gumballs from these Minneapolis jogging suit aficionados that’ll make you want to rock the Slip’n’Slide until mom makes you go inside and eat your fish sticks and tater tots.

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French Kicks

The latest from these fashionably flip young men takes on a new-wave polish that accentuates the hooks and speeds the rhythm section to heel-popping precision. Precious, but in a savagely catchy way.

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Guided by Voices

Lord only knows if the Ohio basement legends are still relevant, and only the same lord knows if relevancy is still relevant. Alls I know is that the adventurous stew of riffs, hooks, and twee vocals will cause an involuntary reaction from me as long as my feet can tap and my head can nod. There are a ton of archived MP3s at both Matador and gbv.com, so stick around for a while.

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A.C. Newman

The New Pornographers resident pop auteur lead singer guy puts together his own set of finely polished gems that have the get-up-and-go (“Miracle Drug”) of his best efforts with the “supergroup” and the jaded sunshine (“Drink to Me Babe, Then”) of the late-great Zumpano. A few more like these from Newman and Ben Folds will have to work harder to get our attention.

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